Matthew McFarland is the photographer behind some of the most stunning images of Clayco buildings and job sites. His studio, M Studio West, is based in St. Louis, where he lives with his family. One of Matthew’s photographs from the SK Battery Site in Commerce, Georgia, was chosen as a finalist to potentially appear on the January cover of Engineering News-Record Magazine (you can vote for it here until December 21st). I asked Matthew if he wouldn’t mind sharing with us about his work and inspiration:
Can you shed some light on your relationship and history with photography? How did you get to where you are now?
My creative journey started as a child growing up in a creative environment. My mother was an interior designer. I was exposed to design, architecture, and visual arts. I explored a broad range of art mediums including ceramics, drawing, and design. Ultimately, I discovered I was able to express my vision most clearly through the lens of a camera. My parents were instrumental in supporting my desire to pursue my vision. I studied photography at The Kansas City Art Institute. Soon after graduating, I opened my first photography studio in 1998 and started my practice photographing advertising work. My eye for architecture was quickly acknowledged through award-winning recognition.
Your architectural photos are awe-inspiring. Can you tell us about your creation process?
It all starts with lighting. When possible, I perform a walkthrough to analyze lighting in terms of what time of day is optimal. My ultimate goal is to have the viewer feel as if they are in the space.
When you go out on a shoot, what’s in your bag? What gear do you prefer to use on a shoot?
I am a huge fan of Sony Alpha Cameras and I have a quiver of drones.
What keeps you inspired as an artist?
My biggest inspiration is travel.
What is some of your favorite work to date?
I am inspired by the full gamut of residential design, urban design districts, paintings, kinetic sculptures. To name a few icons: Ned Kahn (residential designer), Hagadon (architect), Donald Wexler (architect), and Richard Harrison (architect).
What do you think your work communicates to viewers? What would you like it to communicate?
My goal is to create the most dynamic view of the space by capturing optimal lensing, angle, and lighting. I aim to tell a complete story: the experience in which the viewer feels as if he/she is in the space.
What advice would you give to someone who would love to have a career like yours one day?
First, fall in love with your subject matter. And also — spend as much time behind the camera as you possibly can.
What would be your dream to photograph?
I would love to have the opportunity to tell the story of the space, location, and lifestyle of highly-focused architectural resorts in exotic locations.
What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
Growing up on the west coast, I love chasing waves and wind. I love to surf, kiteboard, snowboard, ski, cook, be outdoors, and spend as much time with my 5 kids and dog as possible.
What is one thing that most people may not know about you?
In my next life, I would be a chef.